Individual Work
PREQUEL, or Making A Cat Cry: The Adventure

PREQUEL, or Making A Cat Cry: The Adventure is an ongoing fantasy webcomic created by an Internet user by the username of Kazerad and assisted by another user with the username Ch'marr. It takes place in the universe of The Elder Scrolls series of video games created by Bethesda Softworks LLC, and takes place specifically between the third installment, Morrowind, and the fourth, Oblivion. However, it is written specifically so that no knowledge of the series or games is necessary to understand or enjoy the comic.

The story stars a recovering alcoholic Khajit (an anthropomorphic cat species) named Katia Managan who wishes to get a fresh start on her life after deeming herself a failure and abandoning her old life. She struggles to get work in the town she moved into until she meets an Argonian (an anthropomorphic lizard species) named Quill-Weave, who takes Katia into her home and tries to help her get somewhere in life. Katia is given a few tasks from Quill-Weave and accidentally winds up fighting orcs, meeting ghosts, learning to use magical flame powers, and plotting against sorceresses, among other miscellaneous adventures, all while constantly being haunted by a powerful nightmare that feeds on Katia's personal fears. As the story is ongoing, it is currently unclear the exact conclusion that the webcomic is leading to.

PREQUEL is split up into two primary components throughout most of the work: Text that will either write out dialogue or narrate the scene and Katia's inner thoughts, as if it was a first person omniscient, and then accompanying that are drawn images to help readers visualize a scene. These images can either be simple static drawings, or animated .gif files to show brief bits of action. There are no sound effects or accompanying music under most circumstances. There is currently an additional form of reader interaction, as the ongoing comic allows current readers to submit ideas for Katia to treat as her own thoughts in the next update and potentially act upon them, in a similar but more controlled fashion to a typical Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Once the webcomic concludes in the future, this interactive element will be lost.

In addition to these typical elements of a page, certain pages, usually those related to the nightmare mentioned in the story summary, will modify the appearance of the webpage itself, doing things such as darkening the layout, using image tricks to affect how scrolling down appears, and even in some instances having the nightmare cut through the header of the page that features the comic logo and subsequently remove it from certain pages, all of which are things that involve the entire webpage within the work. Furthermore, on certain instances, entire short games have been created to tell parts of the story, such as letting a reader play through Katia arriving in a new town and meeting people. These browser-based game sequences have accompanying audio and text, and are akin to a typical top-down role-playing game such as Chrono Trigger or EarthBound. They allow readers to become players and experience several things firsthand, creating new immersion within the world and further connection with the character Katia.

This work is significant due to its sheer variety in interaction and mediums. It challenges a lot of what would be typical of a normal comic and takes advantage of its web based format. It allows readers to directly impact the story in a way that otherwise wouldn't be possible outside of the digital age, and it also subverts typical digital expectations with having the web page itself change from time to time, and giving users completely different ways of experiencing the story being told. It's truly a digital work that emphasizes possibilities and developments that can only work in the digital format it's presented in.

Author statement: 
PREQUEL is a story on the internet. It has been called several other things too, including “Making A Cat Cry: The Adventure“, “Everything Is A Federal Fucking Issue And Also Trying To Make You Miserable“, “Katia Managan: Alcoholic, Vasilikphobe, Adventurer“, and “Slutcat Adventures 2: Daggerfall“. All of these names are equally descriptive and accurate. More specifically, PREQUEL is an interactive story where readers serve as the protagonist’s subconscious. It was inspired by the user command model employed by MS Paint Adventures and is based on the Elder Scrolls universe created by Bethesda Softworks, though familiarity with either of these is not necessary to understand PREQUEL. PREQUEL began as a forum thread on the MS Paint Adventures Forums, but has since been moved to its own site for readability (you are reading that site right now). Thanks, and I hope you enjoy reading my story about an alcoholic cat who hears internet voices. That is a sentence I never thought I would type.